“I’ll simply say that you’re a mighty lucky chap and I congratulate you,” returned Mr. Mullaney, hiding his confusion by getting very busy with newspaper clippings and papers which he drew from his breast pocket.
The detective was wholly unconscious of the irony of that remark. But it brought a flush of shame to Dodd’s cheek, for the sorrow and sting and ignominy of that part which he had played had not departed from his soul nor did even the fervor of his passion for her help him forgive himself; he stared at her guiltily as the thief gloats over his loot and is conscious of his degradation without feeling sufficient contrition to give up the object he has stolen.
For he remembered with fresh and poignant recollection the circumstances under which that girl had given her promise to him so recently: she had stood over a mother who had abased herself before them, had cast herself down and had writhed and screamed and implored her to consent; and the mother was driven to do this by the lash of his threats. He had stood there and demanded, and the woman on the floor had confessed her frailty, owned to her misdeeds, acknowledged her debt, and had frantically begged her daughter to sacrifice herself.
The girl had given her “Yes,” paying the debt with herself; but her eyes had been wide and dry and her face was white and set and she had looked past the man to whom she promised herself when she had murmured that promise.
Dodd swept cold sweat from his forehead as he remembered; he found almost the same expression now on her face as she gazed down on Walker Farr, who stared back at her anxiously, perceiving a grief that he could not understand.
In that vast assemblage those three, thus wordlessly, no one marking them, fought a tragic battle of hopeless love with their eyes.
Detective Mullaney pored over his papers. “By gad,” he mused, “I haven’t kept my books all this time for nothing. I know my card. I’ve got him right—it’s dead open and shut. But I swear he doesn’t look the part he played, even if the description does fit him. Well, law is law! If I can’t sell him to Symonds Dodd, I’ll find out how much those will pay who do want him.”
The routine of the great convention had been proceeding.
“And the gentleman from Danton, Mr. Gray, moves that we do now proceed with the nomination of a candidate for governor,” intoned the chairman in sing-song tones.
THE MAN WHO WAS NOT AFRAID
One after the other, dignified and decorous, three men of the Big Machine, representing three of the large counties of the state, came upon the platform and put in nomination the name of Governor Harwood to succeed himself.